Lukaku and Christensen hooked and Rudiger injured: Arsenal defeat shows scale of Chelsea's summer problems

Romelu Lukaku Thomas Tuchel Chelsea Getty Images

Chelsea's 4-2 home defeat to Arsenal on Wednesday threw up a host of different issues facing any new owners when they finally purchase the club. 

Manager Thomas Tuchel had to ring the changes in his 55th match of the season after an FA Cup semi-final victory against Crystal Palace on Sunday. 

It was a chance for the fringe players in his squad to step up and, unfortunately for them, it did not go well. 

Up front, Romelu Lukaku earned his first league start for Chelsea in two months.

On his last start, he broke the Premier League record for fewest touches in a match over 90 minutes, managing just seven touches of the ball at Selhurst Park. 

Although he was more involved this time around, he had just the one shot and two touches in Arsenal's box before being substituted in the 60th minute. 

As he came off, there was a smattering of boos from the East Stand next to the bench.

"Maybe you must ask the fans,” Tuchel said when quizzed about the reaction. “You heard it so you need to ask the people.”

The Belgium superstar may also have been, in small part, at fault for the team's general poor defensive display.

The Blues' pressing system involves all 10 outfield players. While they may have created two goals for Cesar Azpilicueta and Timo Werner, they could not protect their own goal. 

It was Barcelona-bound Andreas Christensen at fault for the opening goal; his lax pass back to Edouard Mendy cut out by Eddie Nketiah who made it 1-0. 

After their first equaliser, the Blues were weak in midfield, allowing Granit Xhaka to drive from his side's own box into the opposition half. Eventually, after some soft defending, Emile Smith Rowe curled in a second.

The Chelsea supporters began chanting for Thiago Silva, who was left on the bench, to resolve the issues, while also perhaps sending a message to Christensen who opted not to renew his contract in west London. 

“He said he cannot continue so I think he had some problems," Tuchel said when asked by GOAL about withdrawing Christensen at half-time. 

"I don’t take a player out because he makes one mistake. To say the pitch is difficult to play here, it maybe sounds like an excuse but it is a very, very difficult pitch that we have here. It’s not in our favour. The ball bounces very awkwardly in front of Andreas when he wants to play this ball."

With the legendary Brazilian defender on the pitch, things did not improve drastically. 

Goalscorer Azpilicueta was at fault for both the third and fourth goals. For the third, he gave the ball away in midfield and allowed Nketiah a chance to dominate both Thiago Silva and Malang Sarr to score. 

For the fourth, he bafflingly fouled Bukayo Saka off the ball but in the penalty area. The young England international netted from the spot to secure victory.

Andreas Christensen Chelsea Eddie Nketiah Arsenal GFX
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After that, the club captain was seen arguing with a supporter and could himself follow Christensen to join Xavi at Camp Nou in the summer. 

The Catalan club have had extensive talks with him already but the Blues have utilised a clause in his deal to extend it by a year.

Sarr, meanwhile, was in the starting line-up due to a minor groin injury to star defender Antonio Rudiger. 

"We conceded seven goals with Toni against Brentford and Real Madrid, that answers the question," Tuchel said of his defensive changes. "It's not about individual players."

Tuchel has played Rudiger in 47 matches and for 4,380 minutes this season. The Germany international has played 600 more minutes than any other player, the goalkeepers included. 

The manager was ready to make Rudiger the club's highest-paid defender in history before sanctions were imposed.

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The club can no longer offer him that contract as they consider potential new owners and Manchester United, Real Madrid, PSG and Juventus are among clubs looking to take advantage of the situation. 

This match showed what Chelsea would be missing without Rudiger and, even more so, with other issues still plaguing the backline. 

Chelsea remains massively ahead in the race for the top four, but will find bigger issues come the summer.